Project Runway's Justin LeBlanc and the Strength of Disability

This season of Lifetime’s Project Runway featured a significant milestone for the popular reality television program. The series, which regularly features a diverse cast of fashion designers, including LGBT and HIV-positive contestants, showcased its first deaf contestant, Justin LeBlanc, who is also gay.

LeBlanc is one of a handful LGBT and differently abled role models to be featured on entertainment television. Tiphany Adams, a bisexual woman in a wheelchair on Push Girls, is a notable example of another reality TV star. The visibility is also slowly extending to the scripted world, which has included characters such as Natalie Pierce (Stephanie Nogueras) on Switched at Birth, who is bisexual and deaf, or Thor Lundgren (Stephen Wallem) on Nurse Jackie, who is gay and diabetic, and uses a prosthetic eye. Quietly, the entertainment world is beginning to incorporate reality stars, characters, and actors with disabilities.

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